Stone Walls and Sheep

Many times, I’ve heard people say things like, “The best day of my life was the day my child was born” or “My wedding day was the best day of my life.” Well, clearly those people have never taken a trip to Ireland because it was probably the best 9 days of my life. When I got home I told my family that there was not one minute of my trip that I was not having fun.

It took me a quite while to pack for the trip, I was afraid I was going to forget something. But I figured as long as I had the essentials-toothbrush, selfie stick, and various color headbands-I would be ok. I was very excited about my trip but I also felt a little guilty that I was going to miss Duke’s birthday. He was turning the big zero-seven. I mean, that’s 49 in dog years, it’s a big birthday to miss. I kept joking with him about how he’s getting old; I told him he’s already got one paw in the grave! He didn’t appreciate my jokes. But seriously though, he’s a Boxer and they have a short lifespan. I tried to make up for missing his big day by giving him a few pieces of Pup-eroni, so we were on good terms when I left. Oh, I also was going to miss my Dad and sister’s birthday while I was gone too. They got over it. I’m pretty sure I texted them.

I flew over with my sister and her husband, who were going to Ireland to visit some of his family. It was nice to have some company on the plane, even though I was a third wheel. The flight was long but I kept occupied watching some B list movies and eating the food they brought me every two minutes. I thought about reading but that was as far as I got on that one. Once we landed I met my cousin Molly, who I was staying with, at the airport. After a quick nap we met up with my friend Meg and hit the ground running with sight seeing and admiring the amazing architecture and decor of the inside of different pubs.

On the second day of my trip we went on a hike and the views were unbelievable. I’m so glad we had a selfie stick with us to capture the breathtaking scenery. While on our walk we encountered an Irish horse who literally thought he was the Beyonce of horses. He was totally posing and trying to impress us as we walked by. Molly and I fell for his charm and decided to take a picture with him. We couldn’t get a normal picture though because we kept trying to position ourselves behind the other. Everyone knows when you stand a little bit behind someone in a picture your head looks much smaller and daintier than the other person’s. I really tried my best to push her in front, I didn’t want people talking about how terrible I looked in pictures, especially if they were going to be posted on social media. I could almost hear the conversations that would ensue if I was in front, “Molly, it looks like you and your very large headed cousin had a great time while she was visiting!” No, I could not let that happen.

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Molly is really strong you guys.

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The horses pretended they didn’t know we were taking their picture.

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“I am the black stallion, bow to me!”-The horse (said in booming voice)

After the hike we really worked up an appetite. I suggested we hit up the KFC I spotted in Dublin, I had never been to an Irish KFC before and really wanted to experience all that Ireland had to offer, but instead Meg made us a delicious home cooked meal.

The next couple of days we were busy exploring Dublin. We did a tour of the Guinness Factory and became experts on pouring the perfect pint, went to a Gaelic football game, walked around a lot, and did some shopping. I treated myself and bought an Irish knit sweater. I was a little worried that if I wore it I would immediately be mistaken for a Dublin native and people would be stopping me and asking for directions and things like that, but I took the chance and wore it anyway.

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Just a kangaroo and her joeys at the Guinness Factory. As you can tell I really got into character, Molly was kind of half-assing it.

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We made some new friends at the Gaelic football game. Yay! go sports!

After we had our fill of Dublin we headed to Galway which was awesome. I was even lucky enough to celebrate my sweet 25th while there. Unfortunately, there was a little mix up on what age I was turning. You see, we were celebrating me being a quarter of a century old at a bar in Galway and there was a band playing. Molly decided to sneak up to the band and tell them it was my birthday. For some reason they thought it was my 16th birthday and announced that over the loud speakers. They then told everyone in the packed bar to wish me a happy 16th birthday, so everyone yelled “Happy 16th birthday Kathleen!” But don’t worry I played it off. I’m not sure why they thought it was my 16th birthday, maybe it was the green headband I was wearing. I knew I should have worn the white one that day. I also don’t know why people thought it was ok for a 16 year old to be celebrating her birthday in a bar on a school night. I guess that’s just the Irish culture for ya!

Then after two days of Galway and celebrating my 16th birthday, I headed to Roscommon to meet up with my sister and brother in law. While there I saw the countryside of Ireland, walked around some castles, visited with a cow, and even fed some lambs! I didn’t charge them for the feedings, I was nice and did it pro-bono since the sheep community has always been very generous in providing me with sweaters and warm blankets. Plus, I felt bad for the little lambs, it’s not their fault their mothers can’t provide for them. It’s really a shame, these young sheep women get knocked up, they have no jobs to pay for proper lamb care, no help from the sheep dads because they run off to lounge in the fields before the lambs are even born, and then they just expect the government to take care of them! It’s a vicious cycle.

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As you can see the sheep mom is swallowing her pride and letting me help take care of her triplets. 

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Me and Bessie the cow. Don’t worry, I asked and she is not related to that dumb cow of Mrs. O’Leary’s who started the great Chicago fire. That would have been awkward.

Once I was done playing Saint Francis of Assisi I headed back to Dublin for the last hurrah of my trip. I was very sad it was coming to an end, the days just flew by!

I learned a lot while in Ireland. I learned that it’s not only rainy there but it’s windy too. I also learned that they love stone walls in Ireland. I felt like every time I turned around there was another stone wall.

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We were really enjoying that ocean breeze and not uncomfortable at all!

Now that I’ve been out of the United States I cannot even begin to tell you how cultured I am. I’m basically an expert on world travel now so if anyone needs any advice just let me know. I left Ireland sleep deprived, dirty, and with a cold, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because it was time of my life! I can’t wait to go back!

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Me and my lovely hosts. Clearly I missed the text that said we were all supposed to wear white sweaters that day.

 

Wedding Festivities, Round 2

The second Saturday in April was my sister’s wedding, and let me tell you, it was quite the blast. The festivities started on Thursday where we decided to be basic white betches and get mani/pedis at a nail salon while drinking wine. Unfortunately, I do not think the poor nail technician that was doing my sister’s pedicure knew what a tough job he was in for. As I looked over I saw him pull out a large file that looked like it came out of my Dad’s toolbox, and then he went to town on her feet. Not wanting to embarrass my sister we all turned away and pretended we didn’t see…just kidding, we all called her out and laughed. I would have snapped a picture but I didn’t want to spill my wine.

Friday was a very busy day. We had to clean the house and finish up preparations for the wedding. I hope EVERYONE appreciated the purple bows on the mass booklets because that was the work of my mom, my sister Bridget and myself. My mother was really cracking the whip on us with the bows. In fact, I think she might have been a factory manager in her past life the way she was putting us to work and not allowing breaks. I felt like a child in a sweat shop before they passed the child labor laws in America. My fingers are still sore from all the bows I tied. It was very hard to please my mother with the bows as well.
Me: Mom, how does this bow look, is this ok? (trembling)
Mom: Oh that’s fine sweetie…you know what, we’ll just put that one towards the back. It’s fine.
Despite all this I would still say I had a great day. This is because I did not go to work and as I told my father, any day not at work is a great day.
Friday night was rehearsal dinner where I was sure to NOT make the same dessert mistake I made at my brother’s rehearsal dinner. You see, this time around the desserts that were offered were cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. I went with the cookie and boy was I glad I did. There were so many chocolate covered strawberries left and the cookies went in a blink of an eye! Plus I am not a huge fan of chocolate covered strawberries-I just don’t like to mix business with pleasure, ya know? After dinner we all went to bed pretty early since we had an early start the next morning. As we were going to bed I went to turn the humidifier on in my bedroom since I was suffering from a horrific cough. Jane, my roommate, selfish requested that I not use the humidifier because it quote “messed up her hair” and she wanted to look her best on the day of the wedding. I was just appalled. Leave it to a youngest child to be more selfish than a middle child like myself. But, being the martyr that I am I suffered and did not use the humidifier that night. I was hacking like a coal miner the day of the wedding but Jane’s hair looked great so that’s all that matters right?
Me and the selfish betch who put her hair needs before the health of her sister. Her hair does look great though doesn't it?

Me and the selfish wench (on the right) who put her hair needs before the health of her sister. Her hair does look great though doesn’t it?

Saturday we were up bright and early getting our hair and makeup done. There is nothing quite like getting bobby pins shoved into your scalp by a hair stylist to wake you up in the morning. Once there was blood dripping from my head I knew my hair would stay in place all night and look great. After my face was on and my hair was done I put on my bridesmaid dress and damn, did I look good. I credit this in part to the extra padded bra I had purchased for this very occasion. The tag on the bra claimed the bra would make you look so good that it would “stop traffic” which I though would come in handy in case the limo parked across the street from the church. I felt like a little bit of an impostor with the bra on, I’m sure everyone knew I was a fake, but it helped keep my dress on seeing as the dresses were strapless and I have the body of a 9 year old girl.
Me and Mike Sr. being the bad asses that we are.

Me and Mike Sr. being the bad asses that we naturally are.

Once everyone was all dolled up we headed to the church for the mass. My sister decided against having the “love is patient, love is kind” reading at her wedding and I don’t blame her. After my performance of that reading at my brother’s wedding back in November I thought it should be retired too. I don’t think anyone could fill my shoes in reading that passage. The mass went pretty smoothly-no one tripped walking up or down the aisle so that is always a blessing. I was the first bridesmaid to walk down the aisle so there was a lot of pressure on me to look pretty and not mess up. Luckily looking pretty and not messing up comes naturally to me. Just like my performance of the love is patient reading I nailed the walk. After mass, we went in peace to love and serve the Lord and take a million pictures. My face hurt from smiling almost as much as my head hurt from having those bobby pins drilled into my skull.
After mass it was time to party at the reception. And party we did. I brought my selfie stick to document the whole reception which was a great idea. Took a lot of gems. In fact I’m not even sure why my sister hired a professional photographer when she knew I was bringing my selfie stick. I could have saved her a couple bucks.
Absolutely breath taking isn't it? Of course I'm talking about the hardwood dance floor. Look at that shine. I think they gave it a fresh wax before the reception.

Absolutely breath taking isn’t it? Of course I’m talking about the hardwood dance floor. Look at that shine. I think they gave it a fresh wax before the reception.

It was very emotional for us as siblings watching our oldest sister dance with our father at her wedding. As you could see we were very choked up.

It was very emotional for us as siblings watching our oldest sister dance with our father at her wedding. As you could see we were very choked up.

I call this one

I call this one “waiting in line at the bar”. I really had to stretch to get the bartender in there, even with my extendable blue tooth selfie stick, but I succeeded.

Shout out to my cousin for being tall and getting us all in this shot.

Shout out to my cousin for being tall and getting us all in this shot.

The celebrations went well into the wee hours of the morning. I was so tired when I got back to my hotel room to go to sleep that I didn’t even take the bobby pins out of my hair or wipe off my makeup. Because of this the next morning I woke up and my pillowcase looked like the cloth Veronica used to wipe the face of Jesus.
Having 2 siblings get married in 5 months was a bit much for us, but it was also a lot of fun. Thankfully, me and my 2 sisters, the 3 old maids left in the family, made a pact to spread out our future weddings over a longer span of time (Please pray that we get married. Please Lord let us get married). I’m not sure what we will talk about at the dinner table now that both weddings are over. Actually it will probably be what we talked about before-Duke and the neighbors. Life will be back to normal I guess!

Our Trip to Dayton, as Told by a Selfie Stick

February is the most awful month of the entire year. This is just a known fact. I’m sorry if your birthday is in February, you can blame your parents for that. I just thank the Lord it is a short month. The one bright spot February had this year was that I was able to visit a magical place, this place is called the University of Dayton, and it is where I went to college back in the day.

 I took this weekend vacation with my four siblings, numerous cousins, and some friends. We embarked on our journey around 1pm on a Friday. I was already ecstatic because I only had to work a half day, and as I have mentioned before, not working is my absolute favorite thing to do. My mom was generous enough to let us borrow Mama Mini-her stylish Honda mini van with 16 cup holders, ipod hookup, ample legroom, and plenty of cargo space. So yea, we were riding pretty comfortably for the five hours it took us to get from Chicago to Dayton.
5 beautiful ladies riding in a min van-keep your eyes on the road boyz.

5 beautiful ladies riding in a min van-try to keep your eyes on the road boyz, am I right?!

Since none of us had eaten lunch, we needed to make a group decision on where to stop to eat, the last thing we needed was a van full of hangry white betches rolling onto Dayton’s campus and ruining the magical atmosphere. Our lunch decision was a tough one but after much thought and discussion, we decided on Wendy’s. I must admit I started to panic a little bit when we pulled into the Wendy’s parking lot. This is because the Wendy’s was connected to a gas station and I have trust issues with fast food places that are connected to gas stations (Please don’t ask why, the memories are still too painful). There are 3 things I fear when picking a fast food place to eat at while on the road:
1. The fast food restaurant will be connect to a gas station-fear met head on for this trip.
2. The ketchup pump will be out of ketchup-then I have to awkwardly go up to the counter and ask for packets and they never give enough, I really like ketchup.
3. The fountain pop machine is behind the counter so you cannot fill your own fountain pop cup-I’m a do-it-yourself gal when it comes to my fountain pop.
(note: these fears are in no particular order)
It’s just so hard to judge a fast food place based off a sign on the highway. But to my delight the Wendy’s was wonderful-it was clean and the food was delicious-I think it may have been a newly remodeled Wendy’s location. Great work Dave!
I look angry because I could not fit everyone into the picture. It had nothing to do with our favorite red head Wendy.

I look angry because I could not fit everyone into the picture. It had nothing to do with our favorite red head, Wendy. The lunch she served us was amazing.

After a quick lunch we were back on the road, jammin’ out to some tunes and sippin’ on our Wendy’s Fountain Diet Cokes (which thanks to the 16 cup holders, everyone had a place to put their pop). We arrived at Dayton just in time for the Friday night festivities to begin. We ordered some pizzas and had ourselves a few cocktails. Then it was time to head to a house party.
Now, a few weeks ago, I made possibly the best purchase I will make in my entire life-a selfie stick. I knew I had to bring it to UD to document what an amazing trip it was sure to be. My first documentation was at the house party Friday night. Let me just warn everyone out there, if you want to know who your TRUE friends are, go ahead and buy a selfie stick. I would liken being in possession of a selfie stick to that of a lottery winner. You just used to be this average person and then all of a sudden you have this fortune (in my case a selfie stick, but pretty much same thing) and everyone wants a piece of you. People at this house party were coming out of the woodwork just to get in a picture with me taken with my selfie stick. Like excuse me sir, do I know you? Get out of my selfie stick picture. No I am not going to tag you on Instagram. Leave me alone to pose by myself. I mean was I basking in all the attention I was getting? Yea a little bit but I knew deep down these people were not my friends.
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Captured this beautiful embrace with my selfie stick.

everyone

The peace sign never goes out of style.

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Using a selfie stick is quite the arm work-out, especially if you still have the iphone 4S like I do…so embarrassing.

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I only know one person in this picture.

The Kelly Family. As you can see Jane was maliciously trying to shove my head out of the picture with her head.

The Kelly Family. As you can see Jane was maliciously trying to shove my head out of the picture with her head.

Unfortunately tragedy struck on our walk home from the party in the early hours of Saturday morning when a piece of my selfie stick fell off and was lost forever. I think I went through every stage of grief-denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. We went back to look for it but it had disappeared into the night. It’s probably for the best that I could not take any more selfies with my selfie stick that weekend. I wouldn’t want to have been taken advantage of any more than I already was Friday night. (Editors note: Upon returning home I immediately contacted the company and received a replacement selfie stick, thank God)
Saturday I woke up on my partially deflated air mattress (still working off that holiday weight) with the attitude that this day was going to be better, a fresh start. And it was. It was also the windiest day in America so it sealed the deal that my selfie stick was gone forever. As many of you know one of my pet peeves is the wind but I got past this and had a great day even still. We had some lunch, watched the Dayton basketball game and danced to some amazing songs. Not the crap these kids listen to today but good quality songs from the Backstreet Boys, Nsync and Aaron Carter. We went to a few more house parties, saw my sister’s dorm, and had a fancy dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Here there was yet another obstacle for me to overcome when the waitress forgot to take my order. Again the stages of grief set in. Is it so much to ask for a few chicken wings and some fries? I didn’t think so. But again I didn’t let it bother me. After that we went to a bar and then called it a night. There were a few fights between the Kelly siblings, but nothing serious. And might I add that I was the innocent victim in both fights. My one sister accused me of calling her a fat ass hoe which was completely ridiculous. If I called her a fat ass hoe I would have admitted it. Then my other sister said she didn’t love me because I was going to bed and not back out to the bars. Boo hoo like I need your love, I have a selfie stick now and people who own selfie sticks do not need love.
Other than a few minor hiccups the trip was a blast. It’s always fun going back to my Alma Mater, the University of Dayton, my home away from home. I cannot wait for our trip next year!
The Crew

The Crew… and the pole of the selfie stick.